This is a phrase used by environmentalists. A small footprint means to leave little impact on the environment. I believe in the small footprint too. But it's hard to be a well-trained (i.e. brainwashed) consumer and an idealist too.
What would make me happy would be to discover that the car companies were aware of the "FE subculture" the way they are aware of (and marketing to) the tuner crowd.
Imagine being able to tick on the option sheet "extra-tall top gear" or "wheel skirts" or "smart alternator" the way you can now check "CAI", "performance exhaust", "alloy rims"...
I've seen "gm.com" a few times in the activity logs of my web site, and I like to pretend they're actually taking some of this in...
It seems to me that the car companies added tuner extras because not stealing from the bigger-than-cottage industry looked to them like so much money left on the table. Often they pick the best in breed and oem that item instead of developing it themselves.
So here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of a budding cottage industry as one of the leading experts: "Darin's Metro/Swift Wheelskirts"
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein
I think you guys covered everything that I was thinking.
I always liked tinkering with stuff (cars and bikes). The gaslog on this site kept me interested in FE (I may have gone back to the dark side if it wasn't for the gaslog). Yeah i am cheap too. I know I have saved hundreds on gas over the past year compared to how I drove before. I guess I am competive too and always trying to be the fastest, longest, highest.
2008 EPA adjusted:
Distance traveled by bicycle in 2007= 1,830ish miles
Average commute speed=25mph (yes, that's in a car)
Definitely the money aspect for me. I'm not much of a gearhead or an environmentalist. Just looking at my gaslog shows just how much I drive and so the less fuel used, the better (gas is still $3.188 per gallon here). However I'm sure if I had a vehicle that used 3x more fuel than my Geo (I was seriously eyeing up a 4.0L 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee this summer), I'd only drive it 1/3 as much!